Academy players traveling the globe in search of experience, silverware

The senior team may have to wait a few more days to return to action, but It’s been a busy week for the Atlanta United academy players. As the new season kicks off at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta training ground, many are traveling the world to represent the red, black and gold.

Two academy stars, George Bello and Danny Mangarov are representing their country at the U-15 CONCACAF Championships. Mangarov has been impressing off the bench to force his way into the coach’s plans while George Bello has started every game so far. He drew a penalty and earned an assist in the group stage, and shook off a slight energy to start again against Panama in the semifinals. Bello impressed once again defensively took help keep a clean sheet in a 3-0 win, with Gianluca Busio’s scissor kick the pick of the bunch.

Meanwhile on the club side, the Atlanta United U-17 squad is getting valuable experience against some of the best academies in North America at a tournament in Mexico City. Academy Director Tony Annan sent a young squad to the Liga MX Internacional Tournament for a chance at valuable match experience.  Day one was a valuable learning experience against an older squad in Liga MX’s Santos Laguna in the first match, a 3-0 loss. But they showed resilience, maturity and growth to rebound the following with a hard-fought draw against Pachuca Friday morning. A low set piece steered into the Liga MX side’s net was enough to earn a hard-fought 1-1 win.

The international squad will now play Mexico in the CONCACAF Championship game this weekend for a chance at an international trophy. Meanwhle the U-17’s have another week of games to come, with MLS sides L.A. Galaxy and Toronto FC next up on the schedule. If they win, they will play the final in the historic Stadio Azteca in Mexico City next weekend.